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Why has my dentists changed me to an NHS patient?

(11 Posts)
DustyCushion Sun 31-Jan-16 12:23:45

I registered with my current dentist about 7 years ago as a private patient but when I went for my last appointment I noticed that the front of my folder had 'private' crossed out and 'NHS' written over the top.
When I queried this, the dentist was very vague - just said the head of practice had made the decision and it wouldn't make any difference to my treatment.

I'm very nervous about going to the dentist and do tend to 'tune out' a bit to get through the appointment but I'm sure this decision was never discussed with me.
Looking back comments made at a couple of previous appointments made more sense - that work I needed couldn't be done on the NHS and I'd have to pay privately.

I've always paid for treatment immediately at the appointment, so no concerns about my ability to pay.

Due to other anxieties I have about going to the dentist this has been bothering me. In general dentists seem to be taking on fewer NHS patients so this seems odd.

Anybody shed any light on why they have done this and what difference it would make to my treatment?

PerspicaciaTick Sun 31-Jan-16 12:28:11

It won't make any difference to your treatment and you will still have the option to pay for non-standard treatments such as white fillings.

sooperdooper Sun 31-Jan-16 12:29:57

It means you'll get some treatment covered by the NHS or cheaper than you'd pay privately - the actual treatment won't change, they've actually done you a favour!

Floralnomad Sun 31-Jan-16 12:30:23

I would imagine most people ( myself included) would be thrilled if my dentist did the same , treatment will be cheaper with the option to pay for stuff that is not standard on the NHS - win win situation .

nbee84 Sun 31-Jan-16 12:32:15

How much have you been paying for check ups? Private price or NHS price?

Mrsmorton Sun 31-Jan-16 12:33:18

Ask to speak to the head of the practice. It's an ethical PITA to have two types of patient in the same practice because the contract is very badly written, that may be the driver behind this or it may be that they're not meeting their NHS targets so would rather see you on the NHS than privately. Private dentists don't make lots more money than NHS ones, they just have a nicer working environment.

DustyCushion Sun 31-Jan-16 13:06:37

Yes my initial thought was that they'd done me a favour.

But not mentioning the change to me and some odd comments (like there was other work they could do but I wouldn't be able to afford it - no idea why as I've always paid straight away) made me wonder if being an NHS patient was limiting my treatment in some way.

I'm very a anxious about going to the dentist and find it difficult to question things in the moment then fixate on perceived negatives after the fact.

Mrsmorton - it is the main dental practice for the local university so I imagine a lot of their patients are NHS so it could very well be that they are just trying to minimise having two types of patient.

Floralnomad Sun 31-Jan-16 13:10:07

Go and speak to the practice manager when you are not at the dentist and explain your concerns ,that way you won't be so anxious as no actual dentistry is involved .

bigbluebus Mon 01-Feb-16 16:15:48

dustyCushion This has happened to me (although the dentist did tell me they were doing it) and I was bemused by it too. I have been a private patient at the practice ever since the new NHS contracts came in years ago and there was a mass exodus of dentists from the NHS patient market. The practice changed hands and there were some NHS places created. My DH had been asking to switch back to NHS for a couple of years and was told he was on a waiting list. He eventually got an NHS place and the next time I went to the dentist, I was told I was being switched to NHS too - even though I had never asked! As far as know they still do private patients too although I have recently seen they are advertising that they have vacancies for new patients. I wondered if they had lost patients and needed to make up the numbers so they don't lose NHS funding, but don't really understand how the funding works.

Penfold007 Wed 03-Feb-16 09:45:26

The dental practice I use is private and NHS. I'm registered as NHS and pay that rate for most things and only have to pay private if it's a treatment NHS don't fund. Seems to work well.

DustyCushion Wed 03-Feb-16 13:41:31

Thanks everyone.

Having started the thread I've realised that my concern arose from a more general feeling of lack of communication with my dentist. As Floralnomad suggests I'll make an appoint outside of any actual dentistry to talk to them.

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